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Together in Trial (Elimelech and Naomi)

The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Ruth 1:2

READ Ruth 1.

Locking eyes as he walked through the door, Elimelech and Naomi already knew what they had to do. Quietly she finished cleaning and started to the corners where the cloth sacks were stored. It was time to pack. Naomi must have gone over the conversation with Elimelech a million times in her mind. What about her family? And their land? The boys were getting older - how would Elimelech ensure that they married within their own culture? So many questions filled her mind, but now wasn’t a time to think. It was a time to act. There was a famine. They had to move, and that was that.

When Elimelech and Naomi arrived in Moab, they knew they were in foreign territory. Everything was different. The people dressed differently. They ate differently. Their way of life was completely different from the familiar rituals and customs of their home in Bethlehem. Naomi, doing what she always did best, made the most of the situation. They found lodging quickly and made friends. While Elimelech worked, she made sure that the boys continued their studies with no interruption. 

The Bible story does not tell us how Elimelech died or how the news was delivered to Naomi. Again, a flood of questions filled her mind, but she likely pushed them back to the same corner of her mind where all of her unanswered questions from years ago faded away.  She had to find wives for her sons. They would more than likely have to settle in Moab. No need to return to her home country empty-handed for her family to ridicule them. She did what she knew. She found both sons good wives and made the most of what she had. Only for the death angel to lie in wait until he moved once again.

What do you do when you give your all, your best and only the worst of life seems to be your reward? Elimelech and Naomi’s story is one of sticking together during the dark times. Even once Elimelech died, Naomi was faithful to fulfill her duties as a mother and make sure her sons had the absolute best of what she could give. She was faithful to ensure that Elimelech’s name and heritage would not die with her. No one can blame her for giving up after her sons died. She was likely tired of being faithful. But that’s when God showed up and blessed her with two women to give to Naomi what she had given to others for so many years. They committed to staying by her side, and even after pushing them away, only one returned home filled with sorrow. God used the remaining daughter in law, Ruth, to reward Naomi’s faithfulness and through this story we are assured that God’s restores.

Thought Questions

  • How often do you wonder if God has forgotten you? What are some ways to remain faithful to each other even through the most difficult situations?
  • Living through the reality of loss and death can seem impossible. How can you support each other during difficulty? Is there someone close to you experiencing difficulty? How can you support your friend?

Life Lessons

  • When you have given your all, know that our Father, the Creator sees you and will send comfort. It may come in various forms - a friend, an inspiring message, or an unexpected blessing. Just know that you are NEVER forgotten.

Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 15:55. Do you have a friend who needs encouragement after experiencing loss? Take time today to contact them and let them know that you care.